Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange Mr. Frank Alexander (Patrick Magee)

Mr. Frank Alexander (Patrick Magee)

Write Right

Frank is a countercultural author who's firmly against the police and the government and for society. Unfortunately, things don't end up going well for him, in large part because of his political beliefs. He lives in a dangerous society that doesn't open the door for strangers, but because he's sided with society he decides to be hospitable.

Whoops. Too bad that the people at his door were Alex and his droogs instead of Girl Scouts with delicious cookies.

The first time we meet Frank, his wife doesn't want to open the door for Alex. But Frank wants to open his home, which leads to his wife being raped and killed and Frank being beaten so badly that he's put in a wheelchair.

Yet—despite this total horror—he still sympathizes with criminals, and writes against the government and the police. He is so single-minded in his focus that he lets Alex into his house a second time. He feels sorry for him (and takes care of him), not realizing that Alex is the man who almost destroyed him not that long ago.

But it's not all forgive-and-forget with Frank. Once he realizes who Alex really is, he has no qualms about getting his vengeance on.

That's right, the same man who spouts these lines…

FRANK: Before we know where we are we shall have the full apparatus of totalitarianism.

and

FRANK: There are rare traditions of liberty to defend. The tradition of liberty means all. The common people will let it go! Oh, yes they will sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be led, sir, driven...pushed.

…is the same dude who tortures Alex. Yup: even though he's initially aghast at Alex's victimization by the Ludovico treatment, Frank has no qualms about using it against Alex to drive him to suicide when he realizes who he really is. (Cough. Hypocrite. Cough, cough.)

The character of Frank makes it difficult to figure out whose side the movie is on. On the one hand, this film seems to be critical of the government's extreme intervention and its use of the Ludovico technique to brainwash Alex. On the other hand, the film not-so-subtly demonizes Mr. F. Alexander. Frank's often filmed from grotesque angles and made to appear as weird as possible.

In the end, the government triumphs over Frank—Alex is only told that Frank's been taken care of.

What do you think? Are we supposed to rally behind F. Alexander, pity him, hate him, or just think of him as yet another grotesque individual in a world full of grotesque individuals?

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